LONG ISLAND, NY – In today’s day and age, it can’t hurt to hope for the best but prepare for the worst- and that’s just what the Concerned Citizens of Plainview-Old Bethpage, a civic group focused on the safety of their neighbourhoods, was doing at their recent annual public forum.
Held at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library, the Concerned Citizens was formed over two decades ago as a means of making important information and services available to the community in order to make sure the forces of crime and disorderly conduct – in all their malevolent, myriad forms – are kept firmly at bay, according to Carol Meschkow, the group’s president.
“We started a Neighbourhood Watch program several years ago in response to a series of home invasions in the area. We work hand-in-hand with the Nassau County Police Department,” she said. “They have been attending our annual meetings for some time now in order to share local crime stats and safety tips with our attendees.”
One topic in particular that this year’s meeting centered upon was the scourge of computer harassment known as cyber-bullying, and how to best combat it for the sale of both the mental and physical well-being of school children of all ages.
“The officers are also sharing information tonight on how to combat cyber-bullying, which is a very serious problem these days. It’s one thing to be picked on at school, but then to go home and have to deal with it on your cell phone or computer…it’s everywhere they look, and if it gets bad enough, kids can hurt themselves or worse,” Meschkow said. “If you’re the victim of cyber-bullying, you need to share that with someone you know. There’s assistance out there for kids who need it, and laws governing conduct on the internet are slowly but surely beginning to modernize and catch up with how quickly tech evolves. Cyber or not, bullying is bullying and cannot be tolerated.”
In addition, officers spoke to parents and their kids on protecting their identity and avoiding unknown individuals when on the internet, and how people should be extremely selective and careful about what they choose to share online…much like Las Vegas’ famous tourism slogan says, once it’s there, it stays there, and a misjudgment on sharing inappropriate personal material can come back to haunt you weeks, months, or even years down the line.
However, one way of sharing personal information that was encouraged was the importance of providing the names, pictures, and other vital identifying details of your children to your local police in the event that they are ever abducted; such data can prove to be the difference between life and death when interfaced with the Amber Alert system of the authorities, as police will have everything they need on-hand to help with search efforts, allowing cops to concentrate on returning an taken child to their parents safe and sound.
Meschkow noted that every active member of a community should work together with the authorities in order to make sure that everyone is doing what they can to make a difference, and that’s exactly what the Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage are doing each and every day.
“Our police are on the job seven days a week, 365 days a year, and when they find the time to come in and engage with us and strengthen our ties…it’s a wonderful bond that we have, and it makes me feel more safe just thinking about it,” she said. “We’re proud to be working with our police, and we want them to know that we support them 100 percent. This is a great community we live in, and strive to be a model for other neighborhoods to follow to keep themselves safe as well.”
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